Friday, 25 March 2011

Elderly people's homes - major petition triggers South Glos council debate, maybe rethink

Cllr Alan Lawrance supported the
petition and managed to get the
timetable for closure reconsidered
At South Glos's meeting this week, local resident Mr John Williams prompted the first petition debate at South Glos. He had presented a petition with over 2600 names at Cabinet and therefore secured the right for a debate in Full Council.

The petition challenged the closure of Wapley Court Elderly Persons Home in and other residential homes before replacement homes promised had been built - planned for 2014. Mr Williams spoke of the failure of the Executive Councillor and the Director to engage fully with residents, their families and staff in the implementation of the programme.

Cllr Alan Lawrance spoke in support of Mr. Williams, highlighting that so many people were obviously unhappy. Though the main thrust of the policy had merits, the attention to the residents of Wapley Court and Kerr House demonstrated at best a breakdown in communication, and at worst an attempt to steamroll controversial decisions that could have a detrimental impact on the residents and their families.

Cllr Lawrance urged a reconsideration of the timing of the closures, and this was supported by the Labour Group and even reluctantly by the Tories. The Executive Councillor has now to reconsider the programme.

Well done Mr Williams for such a magnificent effort. It's good to see this new provision for petitions of more than 2500 signatures being used for the first time. Whoever wins the local elections in May, let's hope that people's voices can be heard like this more often.

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